MONDAY, Aug. 16, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- All Canadian airline, cruise ship and rail travelers, as well as all government employees will be required to have COVID-19 vaccinations as early as September, officials said Sunday.
The government said in a news release that it will consult with "key stakeholders, including bargaining agents and transportation sector operators, as we plan for the implementation of these initiatives," CBS News reported.
It aims to enforce the requirements by the end of October at the latest.
"As the country's largest employer, the Government of Canada is committed to playing a leadership role by further protecting the health and safety of public servants," the news release stated.
More than 71% of eligible Canadians are fully vaccinated, and 82% have had at least their first shot. In the United States, only 59% of eligible people are fully vaccinated, CBS News reported.
More than 6 million eligible people in Canada are still unvaccinated and less than 1% of COVID-19 cases in Canada have occurred among fully vaccinated people, according to the government.
The latest announcement comes on the heels of Canada's move to reopen its border to fully vaccinated U.S. travelers as of Aug. 9, to shop, vacation and visit — though the U.S. has not reciprocated. U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents who want to enter Canada must also test negative for COVID-19 within three days to cross the border.
The Canadian government said it hopes that the vaccine mandate will drive other employers to make the same decision, and it's "calling on all organizations beyond the federally regulated sector to put in place their own vaccination strategies" to keep their communities safe, CBS News reported.
Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more on COVID vaccines.